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28th Jan 2021

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Coronavirus: What measures is each EU country taking?

  • Empty streets in Milan due to quarantine measures (Photo: Alberto Trentanni)
Last updated 23 April 9.00 CEST

Member states are taking similar - but different - courses of action to fight the spread of coronavirus, despite the efforts of the European Commission to coordinate a common EU response.

The role of the commission is mainly to support EU countries and provide recommendations based on scientific evidence and proportionality.

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However, member states are taking largely uncoordinated, piecemeal and even contradictory measures - which ultimately might undermine the common efforts to fight the outbreak.

Last week, EU health ministers urge solidarity after Germany, France, and the Czech Republic blocked the export of anti-virus gear.

Likewise, some member states are reintroducing border controls or even closing border for non-nationals.

In Europe, all member states have registered cases of coronavirus, although there are major differences between eastern and western countries.

However, the most affected country is Italy which represents about 58 percent of EU's cases - followed by Spain, Germany and France.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the risk of infection is moderate for the general population and high for older adults and individuals with chronic underlying conditions.

The EU-27 leaders held a teleconference on Tuesday (10 March) focusing on containing the spread of the virus and mitigating the economic fallout.

Meanwhile, European markets plunged on Thursday (12 March) after investors were spooked by the European Central Bank response, the Donald Trump travel ban on mainland Europe, and after the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared coronavirus a global pandemic.

The WHO said on Friday that Europe has become the epicentre of the pandemic - with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined.

In addition, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control believes that there is a high risk that the EU's healthcare capacity "will be exceeded."

Non-essential travel to Europe will be banned for 30 days in an effort to contain the virus and encourage EU leaders to reopen internal borders.

China has offered to send 2.2 million masks and 50,000 testing kits to the EU, commission president Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday (18 March).

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